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Lust: You Gotta Love Those Plug-Ins

Get this. You walk into your favorite retailer and at the door you're stopped and told to go down the block and get a special pass before you can enter the store. You comply, right? In their dreams! Or how about this one? You're at the checkout counter, ready to pay, but you're told to go across the street and buy a special wallet to complete the purchase.

Well, that's what you ask a visitor to your site to do when you tell them that they need a plug-in to view your site or a special e-wallet to make a purchase. People don't want to have to download anything to view your site or buy from you. Don't lust after some cool way to display the goods and content of your site, or offer a convenience that's inconvenient to get.

But suppose shoppers must download a plug-in to experience your products. For example, you have an online music store selling CDs. You want to give shoppers the opportunity to hear some sample tracks from a CD before they buy. They'll most certainly have to download an audio player plug-in such as RealPlayer if they don't already have it installed. If you say your site needs RealPlayer to listen to the sample CD tracks, make sure you provide a link to the download page on the RealPlayer web site.

If you keep it simple, you won't give your customer a reason to click his way over to a competitor.

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